New Delhi: Haryana is planning to join the host of BJP-ruled states to have so-called anti-‘love-jihad’ laws. The state’s home minister Anil Vij said on Thursday that the state wants to bring a law “as soon as possible” against religious conversion through force or fraudulent means, directing officers to prepare a draft Bill.
Presiding over a meeting of a “drafting committee”, the home minister said the “enactment of this law will prevent any attempt to get religious conversion by force, inducement, bluff of marriage or by any other unethical methods by anyone in the state”.
“Strict action will be taken against the culprits,” he said in an official statement.
During the meeting, all aspects of the preliminary draft brought by the committee were carefully considered, it said.
Laws made on this subject in other states are also being studied, Vij added, according to news agency PTI.
In November last year, Vij had announced the setting up of a three-member committee to draft a law against “love jihad”, a term used by BJP leaders and the Sangh parivar to describe an imagined conspiracy to ‘convert’ Hindu women to Islam.
The announcement had come days after the Uttar Pradesh government cleared a draft ordinance against conversion through force or fraudulent means.
Vij had earlier said that the “drafting committee formed to frame anti-conversion law” in Haryana comprised T.L. Satyaprakash, Navdeep Singh Virk and Deepak Manchanda.
The home minister had then told the Haryana assembly that the state government was considering a law against “love jihad” and had sought information from Himachal Pradesh.
The Himachal Pradesh assembly had passed a Bill in 2019 against conversion by force, inducement or through a marriage solemnised for the “sole purpose” of adopting a new religion.
Replying to a calling attention motion in the Haryana assembly on the murder of a young woman in Ballabhgarh, the home minister had said, “Anyone can marry anyone, anyone can fall in love with anyone. But if there is a conspiracy for changing religion by trapping someone in love, then it is very important to stop that conspiracy. We will take whatever steps are required.”
Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have also passed similar laws, while the BJP government in Gujarat recently decided not to introduce a Bill in the upcoming assembly session.
Though the laws are ostensibly against forced conversion, several instances have given credence to the fear that they would be used to target inter-faith couples. In some of the cases registered in UP, police have admitted that there is no proof of forced conversion or that the accused were falsely framed.